Flexing the Math Muscles!

Sep 12, 2017 | Oak Park/ River Forest


They've been open for only four years, but Mathnasium, a learning and tutoring center in Oak Park's Pleasant District, is growing exponentially.

Now the "mathematics gym" for students of all ages is moving to a larger space at 1101 Chicago Ave.

Jana Frank, Mathnasium owner and director, said the center, currently located at 212 S. Marion St., will double its size to more than 2,000 square feet when it makes the move to its new home just up the street to the corner of Marion and Chicago. They plan to make the move after Labor Day, Frank said.

During a recent tour of the Marion Street space, the seats were packed with children of all ages.

Frank said Mathnasium typically has 20 kids in any hour.

The business' most popular program is the monthly membership that allows unlimited pop-ins.

That follows along with Mathnasium's philosophy of building math skills over time and learning concepts rather than always preparing for a test.

"It's sort of like a gym," she said. "So you pay your monthly fee and you come in as often as you like."

Also like a gym, you get out of it what you put into it, Frank said.

"When you're going to the gym once a week you're not going to lose 20 pounds," she said.

Mathnasium offers tutoring and lessons to children, high schoolers and adults who may be preparing to return to school.

The new facility will allow the business to expand its early childhood program and increase the hours of its program for high school students.

Frank explained that Mathnasium is different from other tutoring and learning programs because of its singular focus.

"We know what we're good at," she said, noting that with other programs you can "end up with a reading teacher teaching your kid math."

Though the instruction at Mathnasium is math-focused, she said, the real goal is to teach students how to develop problem-solving skills, self-confidence and independence.

Instructors use Socratic questioning as their main teaching method to "constantly assess and understand" the students and make them explain how they understand mathematical concepts.

They begin their relationships with students by conducting an initial assessment then create a customized learning plan tailored to the needs of each individual student.

She advised parents to not wait to bring in students who may be struggling, noting that many wait to come in until after their first report card and they are panicking.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," she said.